The Third Department determined claimant was entitled to 375 weeks of benefits for a permanent partial disability which resulted in a 70% loss of wage-earning capacity (should she stop working), even though she returned to work at full pay:
Following a hearing, a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge (hereinafter WCLJ) classified claimant with a permanent partial disability and found that she had a 70% loss of wage-earning capacity and would be entitled to wage loss benefits for 375 weeks should she stop working … .The employer appealed from the decision and argued that claimant could not be found to have a loss of wage-earning capacity given that she had returned to work and was earning her preaccident wages. The Workers’ Compensation Board disagreed and affirmed, prompting this appeal.
We affirm. Loss of wage-earning capacity is set at the time of classification and refers to “the maximum number of weeks over which a claimant with a permanent partial disability is entitled to receive benefits” … .. As such, “despite the fact that [a] claimant [is] working at full wages, the Board [is] entitled to establish . . . loss of wage-earning capacity, which sets a fixed durational limit on potential benefits in the event that [a] claimant incurs a subsequent reduction of wages as the result of his [or her] work-related injuries” … . The Board’s decision falls squarely within this rule, and the employer’s argument that this Court has left any ambiguity on the issue is without merit … . Matter of Oyola v New York City Dept. of Sch. Food & Nutrition Servs., 2018 NY Slip Op 00368, Third Dept 1-18-18
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW (ALTHOUGH CLAIMANT RETURNED TO WORK AT FULL PAY, SHOULD SHE STOP WORK SHE WAS ENTITLED TO 375 WEEKS OF BENEFITS FOR PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY WHICH RESULTED IN A 70% LOSS OF WAGE-EARNING CAPACITY (THIRD DEPT))/WAGE-EARNING CAPACITY (WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAW, (ALTHOUGH CLAIMANT RETURNED TO WORK AT FULL PAY, SHOULD SHE STOP WORK SHE WAS ENTITLED TO 375 WEEKS OF BENEFITS FOR PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY WHICH RESULTED IN A 70% LOSS OF WAGE-EARNING CAPACITY (THIRD DEPT))